Chapter 3: I Hold the Title (And You Are the Challenger)

My friend James used to have a simple litmus test with a band’s debut album: if it was self-titled, he wouldn’t buy it. His logic: if they were already out of ideas when it came time to name the record, why should he expect that they would have anything creative going on in their music? Strictly adhering to James’s no-eponyms policy means you’ll miss out on some great albums, of course (The Clash, Van Halen, The La’s, Run-D.M.C., The Velvet Underground and Nico), but his point remains: when it comes to songs and albums, the titles can range from the mundane to the sublime to the ridiculous. You decide which category “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” falls into.


  1. Who or what is Jane in the title of Maroon 5’s album, Songs About Jane? Is it a drug reference?
  2. Where did Pink Floyd’s Atom Heart Mother get its name?
  3. Did Chic’s “Le Freak” originally have a different title?
  4. What exactly does the title of Radiohead’s album Kid A refer to?
  5. I’ve always wanted to know—what does the title of the Beatles’ “Norwegian Wood” mean, anyway? Is it an Ikea reference?
  6. What’s up with all these double Rs in the names of pop songs? “Hot in Herre” by Nelly? “Right Thurr” by Chingy? “Dirrty” by Christina Aguilera?
  7. I have looked far and wide for the meaning of the title to Guns N’ Roses “The Spaghetti Incident?”–please enlighten me!